Linda Morris met the founders of Reconciliation Canada when they were just starting the organization.
Inspired by this first conversation, Linda and her team became instrumental in making Vancity a founding partner of Reconciliation Canada. When the financial institution announced its 750,000-dollar contribution, Morris says their social media was “humming” and great positive comments came back.
“I think our participation helped propel the story, and helped Reconciliation Canada find other partners because we were willing to take that big first step.”
For Morris, last year’s Walk for Reconciliation was a key moment: “People really wanted to take a stand by literally stepping out in the rain.” Indeed, in the pouring rain more than 70,000 people attended the walk on September 22, 2013. For Morris, “Reconciliation Canada and the events that took place, not only created an opportunity to look at something that happened in our society that had great negative impact on indigenous people but it also led other groups to think about their own hurts and their own need to heal.” Morris hopes that one day, we will all be walking in Ottawa and talking about reconciliation as a nation.
The fact that Vancity is taking part in and leading reconciliation initiatives has enabled its staff and members to learn more about the impacts of residential schools and to participate in reconciliation actions. It has also propelled Vancity to work more closely with indigenous communities locally to advance their economic inclusion and development. According to Morris, this stronger connection to Indigenous people is having a continuing positive impact in the way Vancity hires, identifies and develops projects, and evaluates lending opportunities.
We asked Morris how she thinks others can be inspired by her story. This is what she told us: “People say it’s hard to make a change. Yes, it is hard to do things that are very challenging, but from our chance meeting, an incredible series of events grew and more to come. I hope it inspires people to think big and not be limited. You have to be thinking: what’s my wildest idea? What could I accomplish? Don’t settle for second best but really push hard. And don’t be afraid to invite others to join you. You never know when you knock on a door what connection can lead to another connection. So don’t think small, think big and who knows what might be possible.”
For more information about Vancity’s Reconciliation initiatives: